Orlando Anxiety Counselor
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress events and unknown situations especially in this busy bee world that we live in. Many of us will feel anxious or nervous when faced with a presentation, an intense problem at work, or making an important decision that will impact our lives and family. This is normative and an integral part of being a human. Anxiety seems to be misunderstood in our society though, possibly due to many pharmaceutical marketing strategies for the “treatment of anxiety. And yes, there are situations where medication management for anxiety is need and may be optimal with counseling. Not always though and this is where counseling can be extremely beneficial. Some level of anxiety is a necessary part of life, helping to alert us when our environment requires action for us to remain safe. If we smell smoke in our home, our response systems heighten, heartbeat and shallow breathing increase, sending blood and oxygen throughout the body to respond quickly, our senses become hyper aware, sight, sound, etc., all a healthy effort to get us from an unsafe situation to safety.
But, as with many things in life, our anxiety tends to not operate in a manner that helps us be our best selves every in life. Instead, stress, trauma, low self esteem, compounded by various events or losses, diet, life imbalance, drug side effects or interactions, can cause “problematic anxiety”. In problematic anxiety, our once healthily functioning alert system begins to alert us too often, misreading what is a danger to our system. Anxiety disorders are very different because the level of worry and fear in problematic anxiety are greatly heightened and they become constant, disabling and overwhelming. These high levels of anxiety can cause such personal distress that becomes a more severe issue when it interferes with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Anxiety problems can begin at any stage in a person’s life: in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood and can shift in severity depending on coping skills and life stressors.
Some types of Anxiety issues are listed below:
- Panic Disorder: Feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. Other symptoms include sweating, chest pain, palpitations (irregular heartbeats), and a feeling of choking, which may make the person feel like he or she is having a heart attack or ‘going crazy’.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Plagued by constant thoughts or fears that cause a person to perform certain rituals or routines. The disturbing thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals are called compulsions.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. Sufferers often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event, and tend to be emotionally numb.
- Social anxiety disorder: Also called social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centers on a fear of being judged by others, or behaving in a way that may cause embarrassment or leads to ridicule.
- Specific phobias: An intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as snakes, heights, or flying. The level of fear usually is inappropriate to the situation and may cause the person to avoid common, everyday situations.
- Generalized anxiety disorder: Involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety. This issue may be present with other forms of anxiety issues and can be quite disabling as well especially if there doesn’t seem to be any triggers or costs to anxiety levels spiking.
Various symptoms include:
- Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
- Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences
- Ritualistic behaviors, such as repeated hand washing
- Problems sleeping
- Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
- Shortness of breath
- An inability to be still and calm
- Dry mouth
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Muscle tension
Our treatment at Live Life Counseling and Consulting for Anxiety concerns focused on three main interventions.
Cognitive Interventions: Thinking/belief processes
Here we guide clients in learning new methods and ways to change their old thinking patterns and habits. If we’re always thinking and expecting the worst, then we will continue to suffer. We train or condition our minds to think and respond differently than we have in the past. Or think of it this way. If we can be conditioned to think and feel negatively, then we can be reconditioned (through counseling) to think healthfully.
Behavioral Interventions: Our Actions
The behavioral aspect of therapy is the part where we put everything into place in everyday, real-life situations where we are bothered by anxiety and depression. It’s a time to learn how our actions may influence positive or negatively our anxiety levels. I tend to address behavioral problems along with working on maladaptive cognitions, because I believe clients need a strong foundation of cognitive and emotional skills/strategies so that they can begin living and acting differently before they are able to successfully confront real-life challenges.
Emotional Exploration: Relaxation / personal power strategies
Coping skills also include various ways to distress and lower the heighten emotions people face in a state of anxiety. If your mind is in a calm state, therapeutic information is able to be processed in a more effective manner to solidified deeper understanding and therapeutic change. My focus is on peace and calmness here. I do not focus on decreasing anxiety by only using these methods. Why? Because as peace and calmness become a little stronger, they tend to "crowd" out the anxieties and fears we have. Therefore, we never need to focus on the anxiety, the nervousness, or the fear. Our focus is on healing, healthiness, and inner peace and regaining control over some of our emotions.
Many times people who suffer from an untreated anxiety disorder often also suffer from other psychological disorders, such as depression, and they have a greater tendency to abuse alcohol and other drugs. Their relationships with family members, friends and coworkers may become very strained. And their job performance may decline. Therefore, counseling needs to not only address the anxiety issues but the other aspects of life that is affected directly as well as indirectly from dealing with anxiety problems.